Latest Rail News

21.05.18

Use cancelled electrification savings to boost Welsh transport, say MPs

Savings from the cancelled electrification scheme should fund a Welsh transport boost, the Welsh Affairs Committee has said.

The committee argued that there is a “stark gap” in funding between Wales and other parts of the UK.

Committee chair, David Davies, said: “The failures in planning and delivery of the Great Western line, and in particular the stretch between Cardiff and Swansea, are well known. Projected costs and benefits were completely out of sync with reality.”

Despite 11% of the UK rail network running through Wales, just 1.5% of the money spent on rail enhancements is received by Wales, according to the Welsh government, which has also warned that the economic boost of HS2 for England could have a knock-on effect of reducing employment growth in Wales.

Cancelling the electrification project has created savings of at least £433m and the committee has said that the UK government should work with the Welsh government to identify cost-effective transport projects to spend the saved money on.

The committee argued that the electrification of the Swansea to Cardiff route would not provide a significant improvement to journey times, unless the line was straightened (allowing trains to travel at greater speeds) which it says the cost and benefits of should be investigated.

In a more radical proposal to reduce journey times between the two cities, the committee said that a new route via Baglan would almost halve journey times from 55 minutes to half an hour and should be explored.

Davies explained: “It is calculated that the cancellation of the rail electrification between Cardiff and Swansea has saved the government hundreds of millions of pounds, and this money can’t simply go back in the pot.

“Wales cannot have the only stretch of the line not to be improved then see the money saved go towards Crossrail 2 or the Northern Powerhouse. The money saved must be spent here in Wales.”

The committee called the planning work and project management for the upgrade of the stretch of line “superficial”, with surveys not providing an adequate picture of the work needed to be undertaken.

It said that Network Rail had failed to anticipate the bridges along the route that would need to be raised to accommodate the required electrical infrastructure and that the Department for Transport (DfT) did not develop a consolidated business case for the Great Western modernisation programme until a year after work had begun, and two years after new trains had been procured.

Both Network Rail and the DfT have indicated that they are learning lessons and have introduced new approaches to planning work.

The committee has said that they must demonstrate that these processes are robust and that the government must review the effectiveness of its new approach within 12 months, allowing the National Audit Office to provide independent scrutiny of how the processes are operating.

Top image: Joe Dunckley

 

Enjoying RTM? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

The vision of England's Economic Heartland's Strategic Transport Forum

26/03/2019The vision of England's Economic Heartland's Strategic Transport Forum

Dave Hodgson, elected mayor of Bedford Borough Council and chair of England’s Economic Heartland’s Strategic Transport Forum, sets ou... more >
Changing the London skyline with HS2

26/03/2019Changing the London skyline with HS2

Lisa Hogben, HS2 programme delivery manager for area south enabling works, explains how the arrival of HS2’s first tower cranes shows chang... more >
Picking up the pace with high-speed track handovers

26/03/2019Picking up the pace with high-speed track handovers

In 2018 Steve Featherstone, programme director of track at Network Rail, set his team a challenge to secure 100 high-speed track handovers in a y... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... more >
TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >
Exclusive: Midlands Connect and WMRE talk collaboration and investment in the Midlands' railway

22/01/2019Exclusive: Midlands Connect and WMRE talk collaboration and investment in the Midlands' railway

In the jigsaw puzzle of regional transport decision-making, there must be collaboration and compromise. Midlands Connect media lead James Bovill ... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. ... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

The vision of England's Economic Heartland's Strategic Transport Forum

26/03/2019The vision of England's Economic Heartland's Strategic Transport Forum

Dave Hodgson, elected mayor of Bedford Borough Council and chair of England’s Economic Heartland’s Strategic Transport Forum, sets ou... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Changing the London skyline with HS2

26/03/2019Changing the London skyline with HS2

Lisa Hogben, HS2 programme delivery manager for area south enabling works, explains how the arrival of HS2’s first tower cranes shows chang... more >
Picking up the pace with high-speed track handovers

26/03/2019Picking up the pace with high-speed track handovers

In 2018 Steve Featherstone, programme director of track at Network Rail, set his team a challenge to secure 100 high-speed track handovers in a y... more >
Caledonian Sleeper: a railway icon re-imagined

19/03/2019Caledonian Sleeper: a railway icon re-imagined

The world-renowned Caledonian Sleeper, due to begin operations at the end of spring 2019, completed its first Scotland to London journey earlier ... more >
26-30 Railcard: taking advantage of opportunities

19/03/201926-30 Railcard: taking advantage of opportunities

After a nine-month national trial, the rail industry launched its seventh National Railcard for 26-30-year-olds on 2 January 2019. Rail Delivery ... more >